Naming a Beneficiary
When a member joins the Police Officers Retirement System, the member is asked to name one or more beneficiaries to receive benefits in the event of the member’s death. The member may name anyone he/she wishes unless the member has a spouse or dependent children. If the member names more than one person, each person will share equally in the total amount payable unless automatic benefits are payable.
Forms for naming or changing beneficiaries are available from the Retirement Systems Office or at this link.
Return of Contributions
In the event of a member’s death before retirement, member’s contributions will be paid to the member’s designated beneficiary unless an automatic benefit is payable to the surviving spouse or children. In the event of your death after retirement, your contributions, less any system benefits you received before death, will be paid to your beneficiary unless a benefit is payable to your surviving spouse or children.
Automatic Benefit for Surviving Spouse and Children
An automatic death benefit will be paid to your eligible surviving spouse and children in the event of your death before retirement, after a service retirement, or after retirement for a service-connected total disability. It is not payable if your death occurs while you are receiving a non-service connected or a deferred vested benefit.
Your eligible surviving spouse (or eligible surviving handicapped child if there is no spouse) will receive a monthly death benefit of $2,653.49. Each eligible surviving child will receive a benefit of $1,061.39 a month. However, $5,306.97 is the maximum monthly benefit payable to all surviving family members combined. (Automatic benefit amounts quoted above are effective as of July 1, 2023).
Eligible surviving children include all unmarried children under 18 who are not supporting themselves. Unmarried children under age 23 may qualify if they are full-time students in an accredited college or secondary school. An eligible handicapped child is a member’s natural or legally adopted child who, in the Board’s judgment, is permanently mentally incompetent or permanently physically handicapped.
The benefit will continue to your surviving spouse until their death. The benefit will continue to a surviving child until that child marries, becomes self-supporting, or reaches the age limit, whichever happens first. A handicapped child will receive the surviving child’s benefit unless there is no surviving spouse. In that case the handicapped child will receive the spouse’s benefit until the handicapped child is determined to be no longer permanently mentally incompetent or permanently physically handicapped. Each July 1 these benefits will be increased to reflect increases in the Consumer Price Index.
Optional Benefit for Family If Death Occurs in the Line of Duty
If a Police Officer is killed in the line of duty, the surviving spouse (or surviving handicapped child if there is no surviving spouse) may, instead of the automatic benefit, elect to receive a benefit of 66 2/3% of the member’s regular salary at the time of death. Once this election is made, it cannot be revoked.
If elected, the optional benefit will be paid to the surviving spouse until his or her death (or to the surviving handicapped child as long as that child is determined to be permanently mentally incompetent or permanently physically handicapped).
Example: Death Before Retirement -- Optional Family Benefit
If the member is killed in the line of duty and the surviving spouse elects the optional family
benefit, and if the member’s monthly salary at the time of death is $5,000, the spouse is entitled to:
66 2/3% x $5,000 = $3,333.50
In this case, the member’s spouse would receive $3,333.50 a month until his or her death.
Joint & Contingent Spouse and Handicapped Child Option
At retirement and DROP entry, you may elect a Joint & Contingent Spouse and Handicapped Child Option that will provide a benefit for those survivors in the event of your death. Once you make this election, you cannot revoke it.
If you make this election, you will receive a reduced retirement benefit. After your death, your surviving spouse (or eligible handicapped child) will receive 100%, 75%, 66 2/3%, 50%, or 25% of the benefit you were receiving before your death, depending on the option you chose. This would be in addition to the automatic monthly benefit payable to your surviving spouse.
The amount of reduction to your benefit depends on the difference between your age and your spouse’s (or handicapped child’s) age and on the percentage of your benefit that your spouse will receive. The Retirement Systems office can give you additional information about how the Joint and Contingent Spouse and Handicapped Child Option affects the amount of your benefit. Remember that the Joint and Contingent Spouse and Handicapped Child Option is payable IN ADDITION to the automatic benefit and it is payable for life.